City of Chilliwack is looking at various ways to increase street parking in the downtown core.
Under consideration now are proposals to convert sections of Princess and Victoria avenues into one-way streets going east from Young Road to Nowell Street.
The idea to make Victoria Avenue one-way only was already being looked at by staff to create 18 new angle parking spots, when Algra Bros. Development asked them to consider making Princess Avenue a one-way east of Young Road as well. That would facilitate access to their new development and create 18 new parallel parking stalls on Princess Avenue, where there is no on-street parking as the street is is too narrow.
At the Tuesday council meeting Coun. Kloot asked if council will have the opportunity to gauge feedback from property owners and business owners first to help determine if it will be right the direction to take, and was told yes, that the results of the consultation will be brought back to council first.
Coun. Chris Kloot also wanted to know why they didn’t opt to have one street going eastbound and one going westbound, rather than both reconfigured street sections going east from Young to Nowell.
Both directions were considered but from a traffic perspective accessing off Young and exiting onto Nowell makes the most sense, according to city manager of transportation and drainage Kara Jefford.
Coun. Harv Westeringh said he’s happy to be considering the possibility of adding 36 new parking stalls downtown.
“I don’t think it’s the end of our parking problem down there,” he said, adding that “definitely it’s a good start.”
Coun. Jeff Shields noted that “parking is going to become an issue if we start to see some real action downtown” so he said he appreciated the prospect of more parking.
For the proposed Victoria Avenue changes, they’d have to remove the traffic island, and repaint the parking lines. For Princess it will only be line markings and signage, since the curb/sidewalk replacement is already planned by Algra Bros.
Since the one-way street changes could potentially be seen in a negative light by some property owners, according to the staff report, engaging with the Downtown Chilliwack BIA, and business owners to get their feedback will start soon, before seeking input from the general public.
Council directed staff this week to begin consultations with the BIA and businesses along Princess and Victoria and the next step will be communicating with stakeholders directly to hear their feedback about this proposal.
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